God always forgives, we men forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives.
The right to a safe natural environment is an important part of human rights, as it is directly related to other rights and freedoms: the right to life (a threat to life associated with environmental accidents, catastrophes); the right to health care (health- hazardous environmental conditions); the right to work in safe conditions; the right to housing (the threat of creating environmentally hazardous conditions by particular industrial enterprises in residential areas); the right to access to documents directly connected to the rights and freedoms of a person and a citizen, if they contain information regarding environmental rights.
The military conflict unleashed by the illegal Ukrainian power in Donbass entails almost daily destruction of the infrastructure and, as a result, causes irreparable damage to the environment of our region.
One of the most environmentally dangerous infrastructure object is the Donetsk Filtering Station (DFS), which is located on the delimitation line. In its reports, the United Nations records numerous damages to important infrastructure facilities, including the DFS.
The OSCE Monitoring Mission has repeatedly documented hits of artillery shells to the station’s territory, including a warehouse with chlorine. At rough estimates, it stores about 7-9 tons of chlorine, which is classified as an extremely dangerous chemical. When one tank of about 1 ton is destroyed, all the living is affected within a 5-km radius. Two densely populated cities – Yasinovataya and Avdeyevka are located within 5-km distance from the filter station. In the event of a leak, a real environmental disaster may occur.
It’s worth remembering that the station is not only an environmentally dangerous infrastructure object, but also an important life-support facility for residents on both sides of the conflict line. It is located between large settlements. According to the UN estimates, if the station stopped, 1.2 million people would be left without water. During the armed conflict, the work of the DFS was suspended 14 times due to the continuing shelling by Ukrainian security forces.
Another object to pay concern is the Avdeyevka Coke Plant (ACZ), which poses both an environmental and man-caused threat. It is located in close proximity to the delimitation line. There are thousands of toxic substances in the plant’s warehouses, including benzene, sulfuric acid, phenol and other. In the case of fire in the enterprise, which may be caused by fighting or an accident due to malfunctioning, an emergency situation may happen.
Thus, artillery strikes of official Kiev against the territory of the plant and the station threaten the safety of the peaceful population of the surrounding areas. Apparently, giving orders to shoot in the direction of these objects, Ukrainian officers do not realize that they are “playing with fire.” Nature knows no boundaries – an ecological catastrophe occurred in one region would inevitably affect other territories. Ecology problems cannot stay within one region.
Kiev directly violates international law, shelling against these objects. The Article 55 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 April 1949 prescribes: ” Care shall be taken in warfare to protect the natural environment against widespread, long-term and severe damage. This protection includes a prohibition of the use of methods or means of warfare which are intended or may be expected to cause such damage to the natural environment and thereby to prejudice the health or survival of the population.”
Rule 7 of Customary International Humanitarian Law states: “The parties to the conflict must at all times distinguish between civilian objects and military objectives. Attacks may only be directed against military objectives. Attacks must not be directed against civilian objects.”
The Donetsk People’s Republic is extremely concerned by the fact that the Ukrainian side neglects the principles of ecological safety, posing a threat to the residents of Donbass. Commission for inspection of ecologically dangerous facilities has already been established. It includes the Ministry of Coal and Energy, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Construction and Housing, the State Committee for Mining and Engineering, the State Committee for Environmental Policy and Natural Resources, the Municipal enterprise “Voda Donbassa”, the Donetsk National Technical University, Trade Union Federation of the DPR, public organizations.
“We insist on the inspection of all facilities situated in the immediate vicinity of conflict zone in order to avoid an ecological catastrophe that would inevitably affect both the territory of the Republic and the one controlled by Ukraine”, –said the Human Rights Ombudsman Daria Morozova.
The rights of the DPR citizens are under protection of the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Citizens can apply to the Ombudsman in any suitable way. Now, the majority of applications is still verbal and submitted through personal reception either with the Ombudsman or the heads of the Office, addressing the Public Complaints and Appeals Department, via hotlines and via web-reception on the Website of the Ombudsman. There is a possibility to file a written complaint that may be submitted either in person or via e-mail. Since 2017 the Ombudsman received 1787 appeals. In the period of work between 8 and 14 April 2017, 6 persons have visited the Ombudsman in person, 36 of the claims were accepted by the Appeals department 41 calls were made via hotlines. 14 applications were received via e-mail, 6 written appeals were taken into consideration, 6 – have been considered among those received earlier, 22 citizens were provided with legal counseling.
All appeals received can be divided into four categories: violations in criminal law – 72 appeals, violations in civil law– 180 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 2 appeals, social and humanitarian issues 1533 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 7.04.2017
Violations in criminal law
Violations in civil law
Administrative and legal violations against citizens
Issues of social and humanitarian affairs
Among all incoming correspondence to the Ombudsman of DPR, the one which deals with the issues of exercise of social rights of citizens and violations of these rights is the most frequent. These issues are: pension and social payments – 197 appeals, temporary accommodation – 252 appeals, the order of a complaint submission and paperwork in case of property destruction – 34 appeals, humanitarian assistance – 79 appeals, employment – 64 appeals, paperwork on travelling documents – 5 appeals, search of the missing – 59 appeals, loss of IDs – 184 appeals, housing issues – 108 appeals, temporary residence permit – 86 appeals, other social and humanitarian issues – 465 appeals (diagram 2).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens on social and humanitarian isses, received by the DPR Ombudsman`s Office as of 7.04.2017
Pension and social payments
Search of the missing soldiers
Search of the missing civilians
Temporary residence permit
Paperwork in case of property destruction
Paperwork on travelling documents
Loss of IDs
Other social and humanitarian issues
The majority of complains are traditionally received from Donetsk, by territory (Diagram 3).
The number of appeals (complains, applications) from citizens, received by the DPR Ombudsman`s Office as of 7.04.2017
- Statistics and analysis of destroyed infrastructure objects
Targeted shelling by Ukrainian forces causes destruction of private property and infrastructure – this is the reality of the front-line regions of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
As of 13 April 2017 more than 11298 infrastructure objects were partly destroyed (damaged) as a result of hostilities.
More than 6784 objects have been destroyed in Donetsk, 268 units in Debaltsevo, 526 units in Gorlovka, 81 units in Dokuchayevsk, 295 units in Yenakievo, 91 units in Zhdanovka, 72 units in Kirovskoye, 1109 units in Makeyevka, 54 units in Snyezhnoye, 118 units in Torez, 749 units in Khartsysk, 74 units in Shakhtyorsk, 577 units in Yasynovataya, 278 units in Amvrosyevka region, 3 units in Volnovakha region, 24 units in Maryinka region, 17 units in Novoazovsk region, 52 units in Starobeshevo region, 93 units in Telmanovo region, 33 units in Shakhtyorsk region.
Destroyed objects by branches:
– 6185 houses;
– 760 power lines and points of distribution of electricity;
– 175 heating supply facilities;
– 48 water supply facilities;
– 2669 gas supply facilities;
– 11 wastewater disposal and sewerage facilities;
– 101 healthcare facilities;
– 505 general educational institutions (schools, kindergartens);
– 55 vocational and technical educational institutions;
– 62 higher educational institutions;
– 26 physical and sport education institutions;
– 54 cultural institutions;
– 240 road and transport infrastructure objects;
– 59 industrial objects;
-89 trade objects;
– 259 objects in other spheres.
According to the official data as of 14 April 2017 there are 2788 objects of governmental and communal ownership damaged, 513 – rebuilt and 2275 – are to be rebuilt.
- Estimates of mortality, wounds to civilians and soldiers as a result of hostilities in the territory of the Donetsk People`s Republic.
Almost every day the DPR Ombudsman’s Office records cases of violations of rights of Donbass citizens by Kiev authorities: right to life, to security of the person, to the inviolability of the home.
On 7 April as a result of shelling in Petrovskiy region two civilian women of 37 and 34 years old sustained mine-blast traumas and shrapnel wounds of the thighs.
As a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region 2 DPR servicemen were injured. As a result of shelling, a civilian man born in 1993 sustained a mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound of the right shoulder joint. A serviceman of 24 years old sustained shrapnel non-penetrating wound of the occipital region of head.
The DPR serviceman of 38 years old sustained mine-blast trauma, blunt shrapnel wound of the left thigh as a result of hostilities in Avdeyevka industrial zone.
On 8 April during the shelling by Ukrainian forces against Octyabyr village, Novoazovsk region, a civilian born in 1994 sustained blunt gunshot wound of the pelvis, abdominal and gutter wound of the chest.
As a result of hostilities in Debaltsevo, a DPR serviceman of 38 years old sustained mine-blast trauma and blunt shrapnel wound of the shoulder bone.
On 9 April as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region a DPR serviceman born in 1990 sustained shrapnel wound of the lumbar region.
On 11 April as a result of hostilities near Donetsk, a DPR serviceman of 41 years old sustained a gunshot wound in the ear.
On 12 April as a result of hostilities in Bezymennoye village of Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1979 sustained a gunshot wound of the face.
On 13 April as a result of hostilities a DPR serviceman born in 1981 sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound of the head and a shoulder.
As a result of shelling in Kominternovo village, Novoazovsk region a civilian born in 1960 sustained shrapnel wounds of the right thigh.
It was also reported on gunshot wounds received earlier by servicemen of and 32 and 54 years old as a result of hostilities of 31 January and 6 April, 2017, near Yasinovataya, and by a serviceman of 38 years old on 28 March 2017 in Avdeyevka industrial zone.
Within the period between 7 and 14 April 2017, 12 persons, including 2 civilian women, 2 civilian men and 8 DPR servicemen sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR as a result of constant shelling from Ukraine.
Within the period between 1 January and 14 April 2017 209 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 115 DPR servicemen and 94 civilians, including 4 children under 18.
Within the period between 6 and 14 April 2017, 10 persons died in the territory of DPR. All of them were DPR servicemen.
Within the period between 1 January and 14 April 2017, 110 persons, including 100 servicemen and 10 civilians died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4399 persons died. Among them, there were 597 women and 3802 men, including 74 children under eighteen.
Officially confirmed information on individuals, who have been wounded since the beginning of the conflict continues to be reported to the Ombudsman’s Office in DPR. The information is being processed at the moment and it will be included into general statistics of the injured individuals.
3. Register of the prisoners of war and missing soldiers and civilians
At the last meeting of the humanitarian subgroup in Minsk, the parties agreed on the establishment of a mechanism for the release of persons who are on the list of prisoners to be exchanged and who wish not to cross the delimitation line. It was decided that relatives of the convicts together with representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine and with the participation of the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman in Ukraine V. Lutkovskaya will conduct verification.
“The Ukrainian side undertook to provide relatives of persons in custody with access documents necessary for crossing the delimitation line. In addition, the Security Service of Ukraine and representatives of the Ukrainian side in the Contact Group undertook to guarantee the safety of participants of the verification procedure”, – said Daria Morozova.
On the current week, the DPR Ombudsman’s Office was reported on three detained persons.
On April 2017 a man born in 1984 was got off the train by the staffs of the Border Guard Service, and handed over to the SSU.
A civilian man born 1981was arrested by SSU staffs in his own home and charged of terrorism.
As reported, a man born in 1985 was detained. His relatives lost touch with him in 2014.
Based on the updated figures as of 14.04.2017, 771 persons are kept by the Ukrainian side including:
– 473 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed. In the course of work the whereabouts of 1 person have been clarified. He had been released due to the termination of serving a sentence.
– 295 persons, whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
– 8 persons, for whom the request to the Ukrainian side was submitted in March 2017. No respond has been received.
As of 14 April 2017, 450 persons are considered missing.
The Ombudsman`s Office continues to clarify information about the individuals, who were detained by the Ukrainian side, the statistics may change.
The DPR Ombudsman`s Office will no longer publicly categorize the detainees by “serviceman”, “arrested for political reasons”, “civilian irrelevant to the conflict” due to safety considerations.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
The blockade, organized by the Ukrainian side, affected the relations (social and cultural) with our fellows. The government of the Donetsk People’s Republic does not divide the residents of Donbass into “ours” and “theirs.” In testimony of this, on February 17, 2017, the heads of the DPR and the LPR approved a program of humanitarian assistance to people living in the Ukrainian-controlled areas of Donbass. The main goal of the program is to support socially unprotected residents.
“These people are under the influence of the enemy, they live in the occupied territory, but they are our relatives. And we are obliged to do everything in our power, even more, so that these people would not feel abandoned. Donbass is a united country”, – A. Zakharchenko said at a recent meeting with representatives of ministries and departments.
The main pillars of the program “Reunification of Donbass people” include one-time payments to veterans, free medical care, education, as well as joint cultural, sports, professional events.
Given the challenging economic situation in Ukraine, the implementation of the program is of great importance for residents of areas controlled by Kiev. The increase in the retirement age, in housing and public utilities, cessation of some social payments – all this directly threatens the normal live of people residing in the Ukrainian part of Donbass.
As the program has been launched, more and more citizens from the territory occupied by Kiev apply to the Republic seeking advice or assistance. A number of Centres for Social Assistance and Administrative Services have already been opened near several checkpoints.
Citizens who need temporary accommodation in the DPR are sent to the state institutions of the Republic to receive a referral for Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs). In the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Office of the Ombudsman for Human Rights deals with issues of forcibly displaced persons.
1343 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 274 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5085 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 191 of them – in 2017. All the TACs are under the DPR Ombudsman’s inspection. The staffs of the Office monitor the TACs on the weekly basis, with the view to respond promptly to the citizens’ needs. The Ombudsman makes every effort to improve social and living conditions for people who live in the TACs.
During the period of work between 8 and 14 April 2017, 21 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons, 6 of them were accommodated in the TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office in Donetsk.
There are currently 1251 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1195 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 330 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office; 56 – in housing fund of the DPR.
It is necessary to remind that there are 8080 persons, including 2123 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 67 temporary settlements have been established within the territory of DPR, 57 of them operate today, 11 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2957 individuals live in the units, including 593 underage children, 5137 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1530 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
There is a Program for the Restoration of Private Detached Houses Damaged as a Result of Fighting in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Residents of the Donetsk People’s Republic, who are in search of work and are qualified in construction professions (roofer, bricklayer, concrete worker, carpenter, glazier, plasterer, painter) or relevant work experience in these occupations can apply to the employment centers of the Donetsk People’s Republic for consideration of their participation in the reconstruction of houses damaged as a result of hostilities.
Apart from job seekers, employees of enterprises, institutions and organizations, who work part-time, those who are idle or on a leave without pay, can take part in rehabilitation work.
Persons who are engaged in part-time jobs for the restoration of detached houses damaged as a result of hostilities are subject to state social and labor guarantees provided for by the legislation of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
The main responsibility for organizing employment in the Donetsk People’s Republic is vested in the Republic Employment Centre. The service is also responsible for retraining.
The Centre provides an up-to-date list of available vacancies and, if necessary, send them to retraining courses.
According to their data, 11,1 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 14.04.2017. As of 14 April 2017, there were 21,7 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centers. Among them: 16,9 thousand have been employed (5,9 of them – on permanent positions, 11,0 – temporarily).
Donetsk Centre of Vocational Education of The Republic Employment Centre organizes regular free public workshops to train practical skills, such as work with personal computers; technique and mechanization of trade accounts (work with cash register machines); the program “1C: Accounting 8.2.”; fundamentals of entrepreneurship; processing and decoration of textile and clothing products etc. Since the beginning of 2017, 112 persons participated in those workshops.